Let us know in the comments below!
Notice that most Weimaraner people have more than one?!
If you’re here because you are considering adding another to your pack, I welcome you to the multi-Weim club! I can’t imagine ever having only one, but if you’re considering going from a single Weim to double the trouble or maybe even a pack-o-Weims, the club comes with some Weim-specific caveats! Most people find the extra work worth it, but here are some things you should consider.
Cost and Mess
The most obvious one is that the cost of Weim ownership goes up with another Weimaraner around. Don’t forget that there are hidden costs that come with these dogs due to their naughty nature! The mess grows exponentially with each additional dog, just like the cost does. You’ll have more muddy paws trashing the house, more drooling water, more poop to pick up from the lawn, more toys strewn around the house, and so on.
Solution: Seriously assess whether you can afford more than one potentially destructive dog. It’s twice the cost of food, vet bills, crates, toys – and twice the mess!
Training and Socializing
Training and socializing should be done separately. There are no short cuts here! Even having one in a crate as you train the other one can be a problem if your dog’s focus is on the other dog, not so much you. This is especially true when you are training puppies because it is during this critical time when focus and attention is a large part of establishing an individual relationship with your Weimaraner. Co-dependent dogs are anxious dogs.
Solution: The ability of each dog to reach their individual potential depends on you spending quality time with each.
Time and Energy (Yours)
It’s not just training and socialization! We’re talking two trips to the park, two trips to the vet, 32 nails to clip, two trips to different obedience classes….you get the idea. Double the work? I don’t know the exact formula but it’s definitely exponentially more time and work, the more Weims you have.
Solution: You’ll need Weimaraner-level energy to keep up, and be prepared to have a very full schedule!
Two dogs close in age is usually more of a challenge than if you had a gap in age. Littermates are about the worst multi-dog scenario you can have. They even have a term for it, “Littermate Syndrome” and it refers to littermates overly bonding to each other when they are raised together. Ian Dubar says, “behavioral issues may arise during key development periods because the two puppies’ deep bond impedes their individual ability to absorb and grasp the nuances of human and canine communication.” On the other hand, when you have vastly differing ages, you will have different things to watch for, such as your old dog correcting a puppy too harshly, or a younger dog pestering or even injuring the older one when playing.
Solution: You’re the boss. Don’t rely on littermates or two young Weims to entertain each other. Nor can you rely on the old dog or the “alpha” dog to do your work. He may actually need support from you as he ages.
It takes some planning to keep dogs separated when you need to. Have you noticed that planning is a theme yet???
Solution: Scheduling aside, most owners have learned that it’s easier to manage multiple Weims if there are double the number of crates than the number of dogs. Having crates around for quick separation is essential. (One of your Weims is throwing up and the other is trying to eat it! Where’s that crate?!).
High Arousal Situations
These can be many and usually involve a coveted resource, like food, treats, or you. Any high arousal situation can cause fights due to redirected frustration.
Solution: Lip licking, staring, tight posture, yawning, etc. are signs to watch for. Fights don’t happen “out of the blue” and especially not among housemates! Feeding times can be very high arousal, and many people who have multiple dogs simply feed their dogs in their crates to avoid this. Food isn’t the only resource that can cause high arousal situations. You can be the impetus. Or maybe it’s another dog or a toy. Life is more complicated with more dogs around.
Feeding Off of Each Other
Barking and prey behavior are amplified when there’s are multiples. It’s a pack behavior thing. I’ve had one of my dogs bark because another one was barking, and it was obvious that he had no idea why; he was just following the leader. Pretty funny, but if I lived in an apartment I don’t think I’d be laughing. Same goes for prey behavior like cat chasing, or even ganging up on other dogs.
Solution: Feeding off each other is really another high arousal type situation and the same rules apply. Be attentive to your dogs’ body language and be prepared to handle whatever may arise.
If there’s only room for one Weim in the bathroom with you, you’re going to be very crowded in there as every single one jostles for position to be the one leaning against you. Remember, you’ll now have multiple shadows. You may not find it as endearing as when you only had one.
Solution: Close the door or use a crate 🙂
Crates are my best friend when it comes to managing my multi-Weim household. Crate training seems to go a lot easier when you can train them together, but what happens when one needs to go to the vet or otherwise needs to be separated from the other? Cue psychological distress on top of whatever physical ailment caused them to go to the vet in the first place.
Solution: Crate train separately. A crate is usually needed because you want to separate your dogs for whatever reason, so why would you train them to crate together all the time? In fact, rotate all of them in and leave one out which offers a bonus side benefit – You’ll be forced to interact with only one dog.
This can be a real challenge depending on how well trained and how old your Weims are. Two well behaved dogs can work well, but no matter how well behaved three dogs are, it gets more difficult simply due to the number of hands you have.
Solution: Take no more than the number of Weims you can control and walk properly. Use a training aid if you have to.
It’s just that much harder to go with more than one dog. Multiples mean more than one potty outing. It becomes a real thing when you are upstairs and have four dogs you need to potty in the middle of the night!
Solution: Up to four works if you travel with another person that will share potty duties. Or be resigned to multiple trips.
Rules of Thumb
Most behaviorists and breeders recommend:
- One male and one female of differing ages seem to do better than same-sex households, especially if they are close in age.
- The best time to bring a new puppy into your household is when your current Weimaraner is at least two, or older. Your older Weim will be sufficiently trained so that you can concentrate on the new puppy (or dog), and he will be a role model. This goes for each successive addition to the pack. When you are “done” training and all the dogs are “mature,” it’s time for the next one!
My Magic Number
My personal magic number is two. Two seems like about double the work, but three starts feeling like quadruple the work. Four or more just feels like you might as well have a dozen. And if your reaction to that last statement is, “What’s wrong with a dozen Weims?” consider yourself committed! (To the breed, or to the insane asylum or both!)
Photo Trailing Friday.